Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Please Consider to Amend Section 377A to Create a More Neutral Common Space in Society for Greater Peace and Harmony

(This is a copy of an email that I sent to the Prime Minister and the Members of Parliament about my request to amend Section 377A of the Penal Code. I made this post just to share with more straight and LGBT people about my thoughts on Section 377A and the LGBT community in Singapore.) 


Please Consider to Amend Section 377A to Create a More Neutral Common Space in Society for Greater Peace and Harmony

By Timothy Tang


To the Prime Minister and the Members of Parliament,

I am writing to share my most concerned thoughts on the crucial need for Parliament to amend Section 377A of the Penal Code with much legitimate good reasons. I hope you can hear my reasons and give much consideration to them.

Today, I read a news article about Racial Harmony Day where Education Minister Heng Swee Keat stressed the need for Singapore to build strong community bonds to meet the challenges of today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous global environment.

We must embrace diversity - and not just among Singapore's 'main races': Heng
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/we-must-embrace-diversity/1274208.html

He mentioned a recent study on indicators of racial and religious harmony by the Institute of Policy Studies and OnePeople.sg where it showed that there is room for improvement, specifically, in building interest in intercultural understanding and interaction.

He also said,

"We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore - for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation."

I agree with everything the Education Minister said in the article, which is why I feel that Section 377A of the Penal Code is best to be amended for the good of all Singaporeans.

A Voices writer to TODAY newspaper recently mentioned the need for a common space in the library. The letter was addressed to NLB’s withdrawal of 3 books about minority families.

Preserve common space or regress to a feuding society
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/preserve-common-space-or-regress-feuding-society

I totally agree for the need of a “common space” in the public library where people are unrestricted in getting educated about the complex modern world we face today.

Other than the need for a crucial neutral space in the library, I also see the crucial need for a common neutral space in Singapore society.

The recent Philippine Independence Day celebration was meant to be held at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza until it received complaints from some Singaporeans. The complainers misunderstood the event and thought that it would be held in a public space. They perceived the celebrations to be infringing on a common neutral space in society, which they saw as disrespectful and conflicting with the interests of Singaporeans. I eventually wrote in to TODAY to try to resolve the misunderstanding and explained that the venue for the event was actually non-public space.

Venue for Philippine celebration would not have been ‘public space’
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/venue-philippine-celebration-would-not-have-been-public-space

I feel that the establishment of such a common neutral space in society is of the utmost importance especially as Singapore heads towards a more challenging and demanding future. If left unchecked and unmaintained, the infringement of such a crucial neutral space in society could go on to create lots of misunderstanding that can erode social peace and harmony, leading to instability and loss of confidence for citizens and foreign investors.

A neutral space for citizens and foreign workers is created out of strong respect and tolerance for one another’s race, religion, lifestyle, sexuality and beliefs. I feel that such a neutral space is based on a neutral secular morality. This mention of a secular morality has recently been mentioned by ex-civil servant Donald Low, Associate Dean & Senior Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD AND THE EROSION OF OUR SECULAR MORALITY
https://www.facebook.com/notes/806203306080312/
http://www.therealsingapore.com/content/national-library-board-and-erosion-our-secular-morality

In his article, he mentions the need for civil servants to practice secular morality, a neutral form of morality rather than their own private (or religious) morality – to assess decisions that affected the common good.

NLB’s wise decision to place the 3 books in a proper section of the library finally led to a compromise and resolved the matter. The whole experience taught me something very important, it is very important for a nation like Singapore that has so much diversity to create a common neutral societal space where peace and harmony can reside.

To me, the presence of Section 377A of the Penal Code creates a loop-sided imbalance for the creation of a common neutral space in society. Extremists can use the lack of a neutral common space to enforce their bias and hatred for homosexuals, which can lead to much anti-social behaviour. Examples can be seen from the recent Wear White Movement and the “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore” Facebook group.

I feel that the haters of the LGBT community have seriously misunderstood the LGBT’s ‘pride’ events as a promotion of their “lifestyle”, which the haters perceive to be infringing on a common neutral space. Rather, I perceive the local ‘pride’ events held by the local LGBT community as a show of request to gain a common neutral space for themselves to live their own lives without facing much hatred and bullying. I really do not believe such pride events are meant to promote homosexuality in society that some haters have believed.

Such a misunderstanding is very similar to the Philippine Independence Day celebration where the complainers misunderstood the event to be held on public space and therefore infringing on a common neutral space.

People can use the lack of a common neutral space due to the presence of Section 377A, as a good reason to justify anti-social behaviour and bullying towards homosexuals and people they perceive to be similar to them. If they are parents of children, such behaviour from parents can influence their children to bully other kids that they perceive to be homosexuals.

In addition, people can also use an “appeal to the majority” tactic to justify such anti-social behaviour if there are many people who are also behaving like them. I recently wrote to TODAY newspaper to address such a “majority wins” tactic that was employed by people who support NLB’s initial decision to pulp the 3 books on minority families.

‘Majority wins’ not representative of true democracy
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/majority-wins-not-representative-true-democracy

I feel that the presence of Section 377A can promote much bullying and much anti-social behaviour in society. Every little bit can add up to become very large. Many people can get caught in the middle and suffer due to such conflict.

I urge the government to create a more substantial common neutral space between the LGBT community and their opposers, by amending Section 377A so that the LGBT would not be seen to be socially-discriminated against.

If Section 377A remains, bullying and anti-social behaviour could become more established in Singapore. I have recently heard of a cyber-bullying of a 12-yr old Singaporean boy by those who perceived him to be homosexual:

Singaporean boy, 12, stands up to “gay” bullies
http://sg.theasianparent.com/theo-chen-stands-up-to-gay-bullies/

Theo Chen's speech on homophobic bullying during International Women's Day
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx7-Jl8vwuI

The hatred shown to the Philippine Independence Day celebrations as well as the intolerance shown by some Singaporeans in other examples has worried me greatly as a citizen. I worry for Singapore’s economic future and social stability. I hope that the government, along with the help from concerned and outspoken citizens like me, can help to create a strong neutral common space in Singapore as much as it can for the benefit of all Singaporeans. I strongly feel that amending Section 377A is a good step in this direction.


I would also like to talk about the on-going appeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code in Singapore's court of law.

Trio appealing against court’s ruling on Section 377A
http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/trio-appealing-against-courts-ruling-section-377a?page=1

In the news report of the appeal proceedings, surveys on gay acceptance in Singapore were brought up by Chief Prosecutor Aedit Abdullah to justify the need to keep section 377A.

(He said, "Recent survey results on gay acceptance in Singapore “shows the controversy in society”.)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-14/singapore-top-court-tackles-challenge-to-1938-gay-sex-ban.html

Upon closer examination of the most recent government-commissioned survey of 4000 Singaporeans, with data collected from 1 December 2012 to 31 January 2013, it was found that 47 percent rejected “gay lifestyles,” 26 percent were receptive and 27 percent neutral.

OUR SINGAPORE CONVERSATION SURVEY
http://www.reach.gov.sg/Portals/0/Microsite/osc/OSC-Survey.pdf

(Bloomberg report mentions 47 percent of 4,000 Singaporeans rejected “gay lifestyles”)
Singapore Top Court Tackles Challenge to 1938 Gay-Sex Ban
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-14/singapore-top-court-tackles-challenge-to-1938-gay-sex-ban.html

The survey asked people's acceptance of "gay lifestyle", which included options indicating "neutral", "satisfied", "very satisfied", "dissatisfied' and "very dissatisfied".

Even though the survey indicates of a controversy related to "gay lifestyles" in society, there was absolutely no mention in the survey that indicated anyone to suggest or favour a jail sentence for such "gay lifestyle". Nor was there any mention of the public to favour criminalising homosexuals for consented sexual acts done in private.

Is the mere public opinion of feeling "dissatisfied' and "very dissatisfied" sufficient and accurate to be equated with their intention to criminalise homosexuals? This important question needs to be carefully considered.

Such a survey that has absolutely no mention of the public's desire to criminalise homosexuals is not sufficent and appropriate to be used to measure the public's view of section 377A. Using such a survey in arguments to justify keeping section 377A is therefore inappropriate, illogical and unfair.

When asked about the case in an interview in June, Law Minister K. Shanmugam was quoted saying, “The majority of the population still favors the current legal framework”. With all due respect to the law minister, I could find no indication to support this.

(Law Minister K. Shanmugam's quote in an interview)
Singapore Top Court Tackles Challenge to 1938 Gay-Sex Ban
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-14/singapore-top-court-tackles-challenge-to-1938-gay-sex-ban.html

I urge the government to look into a better way of gauging public opinion on Section 377A.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Timothy Tang

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My thoughts on the republished Seralini rat study on GMOs: The need for the worst case scenario conditions

There are some people who said that the study done by Seralini is inaccurate but I don't see what is wrong with the study. A study such as this to find the most harmful effects of GMOs has to use the worst case scenarios that can be created in the study. People who said that the paper are biased are not aware of this need for the worst case scenario so they say that the study is trying to find fault with GMOs.

Why are the people who claimed the study to be flawed so stupid?

If a scientist wants to find the effects of the AIDS virus on humans, would he then ask his test subjects to wear the most amount of protection possible? I don't think so.

Cancer is always formed in the worst case scenario condition, so to recreate cancer, the worst case scenario conditions have to be created.

People need to think more before perceiving the study to be flawed.

I quote from http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/seralini-gmo-study-republished/

"- The population of rats used have a high propensity for tumors. This causes a great deal of background noise, and would likely favor a false positive result."

Humans who get cancer are exactly those who have a high propensity for tumors. Nothing wrong here.

"- There were only 20 rats in the control group, and 80 in the exposure groups, an atypical asymmetry."

Higher number in the exposure group can have a higher chance of detecting any strange tumors. Nothing wrong here.

"- The data reports that “some” of the test groups had a higher tumor incidence, while others did not – sounds suspiciously like cherry picking the data."

Again, the need for the worst case scenario effects would require the choosing of the higher tumor incidence. There is specifically the need for cherry picking the higher tumor incidence.

"- The statistical analysis done by the team was atypical, characterized by nutrition researcher Tom Sanders as ”a statistical fishing trip,” while a more standard analysis was excluded."

Again, I emphasise the need to find the worst case scenario effects.

"- Exposure to GM corn or the herbicide Roundup had the same negative effects. It is inherently implausible (admittedly not impossible) for such distinct mechanisms to have the same effect."

Everybody knows correlation is not causation, so? What the study is doing is to narrow down the suspect not to prove anything. Move on.

"- There was no dose response at all – which is a critical component of demonstrating a toxic effect."

Irrelevant. There is a need for bioaccumulation duration in the liver. Toxins need to take time to bioaccumulate in the liver.

"- The researchers did not control for total amount of food consumed, or fungal contaminants, both of which increase tumors in this population of rat."

Again, there is the need for the worst case scenario conditions. The rats can eat how much they want, who can determine the right 'standard' amount they should eat? Dumbass.

All these factors are deliberately meant to create the worst case scenario conditions to find the worst possible effects of GMOs on the rats.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Explaining the real health threats from GMOs

GMO OMG is the documentary to watch in 2014 about the health effects of GMOs. Rats fed with GMOs in studies have been found with giant-sized tumours. A 2-year lifespan of a rat is equal to a lifetime period for humans. By the end of the first year, the rats were found to have those tumors.

GMOs that are altered to withstand Monsanto's Round Up herbicide have the greatest levels of herbicides/pesticides, conventional have moderate and organic have the least contamination.

GMO OMG documentary on Chemical Food Conspiracy w/ Jeremy Seifert
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQUm5Qg4-5I

GMO OMG Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/gmoomgfilm

Monsanto denies link between GMOs and cancer, birth defects in Argentina
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY16uNIjzKk

Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691513003633

"Glyphosate is an active ingredient of the most widely used herbicide and it is believed to be less toxic than other pesticides. However, several recent studies showed its potential adverse health effects to humans as it may be an endocrine disruptor. This study focuses on the effects of pure glyphosate on estrogen receptors (ERs) mediated transcriptional activity and their expressions."

"These results indicated that low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity."

Bioaccumulation
http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/bioaccumulation.html

Bioaccumulation – “Progressive increase in the amount of a substance in an organism or part of an organism which occurs because the rate of intake exceeds the organism’s ability to remove the substance from the body.”

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What I think is the reason for the huge surge of vegans in Sweden

I heard someone in a vegan Facebook group talking about the huge surge of vegans in Sweden, and I thought about the reason. It seems like the reason is found in a blog post I recently wrote.

Even Ikea is going to introduce vegetarian meatballs very soon. I have seen the meatballs at Ikea but could not eat them due to my preference for vegan food, but now I can finally try them.

IKEA Will Soon Serve Vegetarian Meatballs
http://time.com/70650/ikea-vegetarian-meatballs/

One in ten Swedes is vegetarian or vegan, according to study
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/one-in-ten-swedes-is-vegetarian-or-vegan-according-to-study-9212176.html

Here is what I think to be the reason for the surge:

I think the main reason is the lack of religion in Sweden, which does not constrict the people in thinking for themselves. This means there is less mind control and brainwashing, and therefore less resistance for any positive new ways of living.

AAI 2010: Lone Frank - The life and mutations of a cognitive parasite Complete
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcQC7-_ymuc

Insight: S2014 Ep8 - Changing a Mindset
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14Fovpy6lmg

I believe the main thing that is restricting many people from going vegan is cultural and religious mind control and brainwashing. Nations that have very few religious people are the ones that would embrace new ways of living much faster than other countries.

For India, perhaps their strong vegetarianism is due to religious and cultural brainwashing and mind control, rather than the people thinking for themselves on how is the best way to eat and treat the environment.

The Swedes are a more caring and supportive group of people compared to many other groups of people in the world. They face less resistance in going vegan compared to more aggressive groups of people in other countries. (China is also seeing a rise in vegetarians)

The recent rise of vegan products in Sweden gives them the opportunity to finally change their diet for the better.

If you go to the Swedish vegan group on Facebook, you can see them discussing many new vegan products such as textured vegetable protein and vegan cheese that seems to be relatively new to some of them.

Vegetarianer och Veganer i Sverige
https://www.facebook.com/groups/243147290951/

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to Have Good Hair and Skin Health

Hair and skin are made up of protein, and one needs to consume good amount of protein to maintain hair and skin structure. It is already known that good skin needs vitamin E and vitamin C to stay healthy. However, what many people don't realize is that hair and skin need to be constantly moisturised with vegetable fats in order to stay moist and healthy. Skin that is protected by oils are much less prone to irritation and bacterial infection.

When buying shampoo and shower lotion, buy those that contain avocado, argan oil, grape seed oil, shea butter, oatmilk, carnelian rose oil etc Such oils can be used to moisturise both hair and body to prevent dry, itchy and brittle conditions, and ensure shiny and smooth hair and skin.

Coconut oil is not just suitable for consumption, it can also be used to be applied on hair and skin. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.

Home-made sugar scrub can be made with fine sugar and coconut oil, and can be used to exfoliate dead skin cells and recondition skin, to create a super smooth and soft result.

Use facial mud wash and mud masks to unblock pores and exfoliate skin.

Cucumber extract and watermelon skin extract can be used to nourish skin, as well as to moisturise and alkalise.

The most important of all, one should avoid consuming meat and dairy as they can cause skin irritation and acne. One should drink plenty of distilled water to ensure hair and skin are well hydrated at all times.